Since joining Borussia Dortmund during the January transfer window of 2019 and then immediately scoring 13 Bundesliga goals in 15 appearances that season, the question has always been when would Erling Haaland leave for richer pastures. Dortmund is generally a stepping stone for super talents with players like Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele, and most recently Jadon Sancho moving through on their way to some of the richest clubs in the world. These murmurs got louder when he followed up his debut season by contributing 27 goals and six assists in the league during the 2020/21 Bundesliga season that saw Dortmund finish third in the league while winning the domestic cup, the DFP-Pokal.
A summer of speculation seemed like it would end with Haaland joining Manchester City or Chelsea. But then City turned their attention to Harry Kane (while also dropping a huge transfer fee on Jack Grealish) while Chelsea settled on Romelu Lukaku leaving Haaland to opt for another season at Dortmund. The Black and Yellow meanwhile began their own preparations, signing talented youngster Donyell Mallen from PSV in a move to soften the blow for when Haaland moves, though it has taken some time for Mallen to adjust to the league.
Now, if super-agent Mino Raiola has his way, Haaland will be gone sooner than later as Raiola spoke about Dortmund being a stepping stone in an interview with Sport1,
"He can and will take the next step. Bayern, Real, Barcelona, City - these are the big clubs he can go to. City has won the championship five times in recent years, significantly more than United. When we moved to Dortmund, we all knew that this step would come."
Saturday, during a Dortmund match that Haaland was starting in, Raiola expanded on his statement.
While he did clarify that more teams could be in the race than the four listed, the key notes are that Haaland may not leave this summer but instead the summer after that which is still before his contract expires in 2024.
With Dortmund falling out of Champions League play in dramatic fashion thanks to a 3-1 loss to Sporting CP and also losing to Bayern on Saturday, denting their title hopes, it is a fair time to wonder if this summer is the time for Haaland to take that next step. While the teams listed by Raiola make sense, Barcelona does seem like a long shot due to their financial crisis but City being back in the mix could make them frontrunners for the Norwegian's signature.
It is important to note that almost every year, Raiola has spoken of a Paul Pogba exit from Manchester United yet he is still there but where there's smoke, there is usually fire with global superstars. Part of the game is generating interest for the biggest move possible, and sometimes not enough comes. For Haaland, however, that seems unlikely to be a problem